Inspired by Nara's Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji Temples, Tofuku-ji is one of the cradles of Zen Buddhism (Rinzai sect). It dates back to 1236, and has retained its medieval form despite a few setbacks. San-mon, the noble-looking main gate, which is populated with statues of the Buddha, sets the tone of the visit. From the Hojo (the priests' living quarters) you can enjoy an unusual viewpoint over the moss garden and dry garden. The latter, partially re-designed in 1945, has cylindrical rocks scattered to replicate the constellation of Ursa Major.
Apr-Oct: 9am-4pm; Nov: 8.30am-4pm; rest of year: 6am-3.30pm